Curtain Up! at the V&A

If you love West End theatre, you won't want to miss the current exhibition in the 'Theatre and Performance' section of the V & A. I went with my mum on Saturday to Curtain Up! and it's a complete visual treat.

Telling the West End and Broadway story, mainly over the last 40 years, the exhibition features costumes, designs, set models, scripts, budget sheets and programmes / playbills from shows like The Lion King, Matilda, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and The Producers.

I'd say the more shows you've seen, the more you'll love it as it's amazing to see up close what went into the shows you've loved. There were sketches of Roxie's costumes in Chicago, and of the costumes of each lead adult in Matilda, along with one of Helen Mirren's outfits as the Queen and one worn by Judi Dench as Cleopatra.

The space dedicated to the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime reminded me just what a feast for all the senses the play had been, and there were scenes playing on a screen to introduce the clever lighting and set design to those who hadn't seen it.

I particularly loved these costume designs below, which were for Phantom of the Opera. The costumes are so rich and intricate that it was fascinating to see where they first began.

Curtain Up! is a free exhibition, and you can probably make your way round it in 30-45 minutes, if you're someone that likes to read everything properly. I'd recommend it to anyone that loves theatre, or anyone into fashion and design. It's a real celebration of performance, and I'm very glad we got the chance to pop along.


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